The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

  For Christians, the world's holiest place. Inevitably, words such as 'reputedly', and 'by tradition' keep cropping up when describing this place, but historical doubts and controversies can't take away the sanctity of Holy Sepulchre, revered for over 1,600 years. 
  The key locations here are Calvary, or Golgotha, the tomb of Christ in the aedicule, and the Stone of Unction, but there is much more to see. 

 It is impossible to do this topic justice here! The first church was built by Constantine c 326 - 335, on the site of a temple to Venus built by Hadrian. It has suffered earthquakes, many fires, and almost total destruction by the then caliph in 1009. It was rebuilt on a smaller scale by 1048, then refurbished when the Crusaders arrived in the twelfth century. Since then there have been further earthquakes, fires and vandalism, with piecemeal restoration up to the present day.  
  For a fuller account consult the Holy Sepulchre website at, or consult the rather good Wikipedia entry on the church. Best of all, read the book by Colin Morris I recommended on page 1 of this topic.

The manuscript illumination below dates from c 1410. It shows the arrival of pilgrims at the Holy Sepulchre. At the door they are paying the Muslim rulers for permission to enter. Inside, the angels await them.

Master of the Hours of Maréchal de Boucicaut:  Livre des Merveilles du Monde.
 Bibliothèque Nationale Paris


A plan of the church as it is today.

We will start our exploration in the Parvis, the courtyard of the church.


On to page 2

Holy Sepulchres page 1
                                                                                     Home page - explore the site